Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Religion and Human Experience Essay

Hinduism can be traced back to ancient Aryan civilizations about four thousand years ago and is based on polytheism with various forms of rituals. Upanishads are documented texts which came about after probing the religion and finding ways of attaining spiritual insight from within and for life in general. Brahman is one who sees the divine as being one in all aspects and the Atman which is the soul reflects the oneness amidst diversity and reveals the Brahman in his true self. Maya on the other hand camouflages the truth of unity in mythical and magical shroud. Karma which is related to rebirth is stressed while Moksha is seen as freedom from and beyond all human aspects. The Bhagvad Gita brings out the practical elements of the religion in everyday life through four paths which can be practised together or separately to achieve spiritual satisfaction. The Hindu religion revolves around temples, rituals, polytheism and numerous festivals. Though many may worship a particular god or goddess they believe in all gods as being one in different forms. Priests and gurus are revered and looked up to as spiritual leaders. Animals are given importance as they are believed to be in the image of god this reflects in several gods having animal features. Symbolism is the basis brought out through art and sculpture. This rich culture of India has appealed to many around the world especially the yoga and meditations which have influenced people from every background. Religion and Human Experience 4 Jainism This religion is as ancient as Buddhism with Mahavir as the central figure and whose teachings are similar to Buddha, preaching abstinence and meditation to attain peace and ultimate freedom. This religion does not believe in god’s creation or being blessed by a Divinity, instead they believe in an everlasting universe full of life and pain as in humans. Though humans are considered special and can attain spirituality through compassion and knowledge of the inner self. The basic of Jainism is Ahimsa of which non violence is the most important followed by other virtues. Like most religions Jains honour 24 saints otherwise known as Tirthankaras who are looked up to and followed for their great accomplishments. Purification is part of being a Jain and life is considered a step in the path to eternal liberation from the human body through a life of good virtue and selflessness. Jainism teaches that to gain spiritual fulfilment one has to follow the path of strict non violence. It has five branches Digambaras, Shvetambaras, Sthanakavasis and Terapanthis. Sikhism This is a fifteenth century Indian religion with a background of Hindu Muslim conflict. The founder is Guru Nanak who believed in monotheism and oneness of God. He professed that even though there may be many forms and perception God is one whom he called â€Å"True name â€Å". His teaching was that God had no image and that he was beyond human insight while being the ultimate source of love, wisdom and righteousness. He taught social Religion and Human Experience 5 conscientiousness as part of the religion and the Sikh temples which are called Gurudwaras were open to all. The Sikhs follow and honor ten gurus, the first of whom was Nanak and the last being Gobind Singh who is the permanent guru and is said to have the soul of Nanak himself. Guru Gobind Singh was the founder of the military group called the Khalsa which followed five basic practices religiously. Today these five practices is what distinguishes the Sikhs from the rest, these include uncut hair and beard, Kangha a wooden comb, Kirpan which is a sword, Kachhera the under short which represents the readiness for battle at all times and Kara which is a steel wrist band representing the unity of Sikhs. This community stands out for its independence and strong unity which is their strength. Adi Granth is the holy book of the Sikhs and has verses and hymns written by the gurus themselves. This community has several festivals marking important events in the history of the Sikh religion. Religion and Human Experience 6 References Molloy Michael. 2008. Experiencing the World’s Religions, 4th Edition. Retrieved on June 7th, 2009 from: http://highered. mcgraw-hill. com/sites/0073535648/student_view0/

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